This Nobel Appeal has been endorsed by 31 ELCA synods, the ELCA divisions for Church in Society, Global Mission, and Higher Education; the Commission for Women; Women of the ELCA; and the 1999 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. In late 1998, the United Nations voted to designate the years 2001-2010 the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence.” More than 74 million people have signed a pledge of nonviolence since then. These developments offer a unique opportunity for Christians to strengthen our peacemaking, a role Jesus calls “blessed.”
The spiral of war in the Middle East is a reminder of the need for youth, women’s, and other church groups to teach creative ways of confronting conflict in our families, schools, communities, and among nations. Here are a few ways that church groups and members can become more effective “instruments of peace” in our troubled world:
. . .the Decade for Peace in your church or group; plan programs and activities like a table during coffee hour for folks to discuss and sign the appeal and pledge of nonviolence…
. . . peacemaking and young people using the Family Pledge of Nonviolence and other activities from LPF’s Youth and Peacemaking packet, or from books like Free the Children.
. . .the meaning of nonviolence using Martin Luther King’s sermon “Loving Your Enemies,” an LPF group activity, or Walter Wink’s book The Powers That Be (see LPF’s resource list).
. . . a global mission project involved in reconciliation using stories, slides, worship resources
. . . Revitalize a sister congregation relationship with peace and justice themes.
. . . Plan a peace worship service for a Sunday and for youth and women’s events; LPF’s Peace Worship Resources manual offers dozens of services, hymns, prayers, and sermons.
. . . Arrange a biblical reflection using For the Peace of the Whole World by the ELCA Commission for Women; Lowell Erdahl’s bible study, Peace; or an LPF peace sermon.
. . . Provide conflict resolution training for your church council and other committees and groups in the congregation.
. . . Organize a mediation clinic as a service to the community.
. . . Offer education about and services for victims of family violence using resources from the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence and other sources.
. . . Discuss a film or video such as A Force More Powerful, Where There Is Hatred, Romero, New Faces of Courage.
. . . examine violence in the media using Center for Media Literacy videos
. . . use art, theatre, song, and poetry to express peace and educate others.
. . . Examine the stories of inspiring peace and justice heroes like Ruth Youngdahl Nelson, Oscar Romero, King, Bonhoeffer, Day, Gandhi; use LPF’s “Path of Hope” youth display.